The most damaging function of oppression.
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"There will always be one more thing.” Toni Morrison
This past week has been a phenomenally Black one in entertainment and sports, and this collision of all things Black and dominate happened at Super Bowl 50. You know about Cab. You definitely know about King Bey. Many people who are better at writing than me have done the work of putting both Cab Newton's position as a Black Quarterback and Beyonce's lyrical and visual statement of Black pride and protest against government corruption and police brutality in its proper social context. 

In the case of Beyonce and both the video for and her Super Bowl performance of "Formation," the voices of dissent and the voices of counter dissent rose within minutes of the video's premiere. The striking visuals launched a thousand think pieces, irate egg-avatars on Twitter, and people on social media who were eager to come to Beyonce's defense, though such a defense is not necessary. Miley Cyrus can walk around looking like a Hentai acid trip, but Beyonce has to defend saying she loves her husband, her child, and her culture?

Not soon after, I was reminded of a quote by Toni Morrison that reads as follows: 

“The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction.
It keeps you from doing your work.
It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being.
Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do.
Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up.
Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up.
None of this is necessary.
There will always be one more thing.”

Distraction is the most damaging and insidious function of all forms of oppression. It incites a knee-jerk defense of our very humanness, when we should be standing in our greatness. It makes our work reactive, or ever worse, stalls it altogether. 

I invite all creative people to block out any and all voices that demands that you make a case for your equitable existence on this planet. To quote James Murphy, lead of the group LCD Soundsystem,

"The best way to complain is to make stuff."

Don't get mad. Get to work. 

Your Partner in Progress,
Chakka AKA Dab Calloway.
Highwater Weekly Picks 

  • Aspiring Writers: ColorCreative TV (Isse Rae) and Project Greenlight have a contest for writers from underrepresented groups. Deadline is March 1.
  • The National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC) is accepting applications for its Creative Leadership Lab. The NAMAC Creative Leadership Lab is an intensive four-day professional development residency for mid-level and seasoned arts leaders. Deadline is March 31.
  • Filmmakers: At the financing phase of your project? Film Independent is accepting applications for its Fast Track program. Deadline is Feb. 22.
  • I finally signed up for TIDAL. I didn't want to add another streaming service to my cypher (Apple Music keeps taking music off my phone and I'm still mourning the lose of Rdio...and all my playlists) but I signed up for the trial when I downloaded Rihanna's ANTI album (her best, in my option). I'm glad I did because the FOCUS playlist put me on to Jamie Woon. Check out his tracks for free on Soundcloud. 
  • I'm really stocked about two trailers this week. Black Panthers: All Power to the People, which premieres on PBS February 16 (Trailer) and the upcoming documentary on legendary hip-hop production outfit Organized Noize, which will premiere on Netflix March 22 (Trailer).

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